After a long old drive to Manchester last weekend, this weekend we were heading on another long old trip to the other side of the country, to visit some of Dave’s family in Southend, for a special birthday. Dave’s Grandad was to turn the grand old age of 80 on the Friday, so Dave and I, and his mum and dad, made the trip to help the birthday boy celebrate.
We left on Thursday via Crafty Cakes (more on that to follow) and set off on our journey across to the other side of the country. We had a pleasant journey up and stopped off at Bluewater Shopping Centre on our way, to do yet more Christmas shopping!! We wondered around for a couple of hours and bought a few bits and pieces and ate our dinner in Jamies Italian. We left Bluewater at just the wrong time… rush hour on the M25! After a bit of a headache getting to the Dartford Crossing we made it through OK and got to Southend in time for a cup of tea and a Krispy Kreme with Dave’s lovely Aunty Sue, who was putting us up for the weekend.
After a good nights sleep on a rather cosy sofa bed, we headed over to Dave’s grand parents to wish the birthday boy a very happy 80th. It was supposed to be a surprise for his Grandad but the cat had been let out of the bag. We were also met by Dave’s mum and dad who had traveled down VERY early that morning. After a cup of tea and a catch up we went out for some lunch at a little garden centre not too far away.
When we got back Sue drove us into Southend and dropped us off at the seafront. We wanted to explore the pier in Southend having seen it is where Jamie Olive films Friday Night Feast. Southend Pier is the longest pleasure pier in the world and is a Grade II listed building. Much to Dave’s protests we each paid £1 and walked up and back, which I think is about 1.3 miles each way. You could get a train up and back if you wanted to but we were quite capable of the walk.
Being a wooden structure that the pier is, we were quite fearful of some of the big gaps in the wooden slats and walked with our heads down, not only looking at the boards and our feet but because it was so bitterly cold too.
When we reached the end of the pier we found the building where they film Jamies Friday Night Feast, it is much smaller in real life than it looks on the TV and from the board on the wall inside it looked like the last celebrity to visit was Orlando Bloom
After a quick cup of tea at the end of the pier (there was a lot of tea drinking this weekend!) we made our way back.
When we got back to where we started we wondered into Southend town to find the railway station to catch the train back to Shoeburyness. Unfortunately when we got to the station there had been an incident so we had to get Sue to come and rescue us. When we got back we sat down for 5 mins and then went to visit Dave’s cousin Steve and his wife and little boy. When we got back from our quick visit we changed into our glad rags and made our way out for the evening to The Angel Inn pub to celebrate. Our meals weren’t the best but Dave’s Nan and Grandad enjoyed theirs so that was the main thing.
On Saturday morning we walked over to Dave’s cousin Anneka’s flat, it was a nice walk along the beach but was absolutely freezing! We had a little tour around her flat and had a cup of tea while Dave attempted to make balloon animals with Anneka’s daughter Bella, it was quite amusing watching him try to make a butterfly out of balloons and failing, much to poor Bella’s disappointment. The afternoon was spent just sat around and chatting. Later in the afternoon we walked back over to Dave’s grandparents for another evening of celebrations. We all ordered in Chinese and had the best cake we have ever eaten!
The lovely Becky at Crafty Cakes made Dave’s grandad the nicest cake and he was so chuffed with it. The cake was a lemon sponge inside and the only way I could describe it was like a memory foam softness it really was delicious! The little figure of him on top was a lovely touch, sat with his bowls. A huge thank you to her for making it for him, it made his evening.
We had a lovely weekend catching up with family, I hope that we made his birthday by making the trip to Southend and hope to see them all soon. Jerry the dog certainly enjoyed it 🙂